Tennis elbow is an old stand-by diagnosis that is used to describe and explain chronic and typically activity-related pain in the elbow joint and surrounding region. Other names for this syndrome include lateral elbow pain or lateral epicondylitis. Diagnostic conclusions based on chronic elbow symptoms sometimes use the words elbow bursitis, elbow tendonitis or more commonly, elbow tendonalgia.
While structural reasons for this elbow pain condition do exist, many unresolved cases are caused by simple ischemia of the affected muscles, ligaments and tendons in the mid arm. This article explores these very reasons why tennis elbow is actually part of a larger psychosomatic syndrome, rather than a localize symptom based on injury or degeneration.
This elbow discomfort condition was first associated with many tennis players, hence the nomenclature. However, lateral elbow pain is surely not limited to tennis participants and actually affects a great many people of all backgrounds and activity levels. The diagnosis has been expanded in recent years to include virtually any elbow pain, on the outside of the arm or interior of the joint.
The cause of elbow symptoms might be blamed on the bones, the joint, the ligaments, the tendons or more commonly, a combination of all of the above. While some cases of lateral elbow pain are obviously due to structural injuries or severe repetitive strain conditions, most of which are idiopathic in causative mechanism.
Ischemia can create the exact same symptomology as a structural concern, without any evidence of anatomical damage or injury. This is surely one of the most common types of elbow pain and is especially prevalent in people who do not have obvious signs of significant elbow injury from years of constant abuse.
As with most other possible psychosomatic pain syndromes, elbow pain is generally treated conservatively at first. The usual modalities include pain management drugs, physical therapy and activity avoidance. While these methods help some patients, a great number go on to require more drastic therapy methods, such as injections and even elbow surgery. For patients who actually need these invasive treatments, curative results are quite good.
However, in cases where the pain is being driven by a psychological symptom imperative, the condition generally returns in a new location or sometimes in a completely different symptomatic expression. The lesson to be learned is that psychosomatic pain can not ever be truly cured using a physical treatment modality. It can merely be relocated or changed to a new agonizing complaint.
2008 was a real trial for me. I experienced a breakdown of my economic bottom line and also suffered some set backs in my personal life. I think the economy has played a big part in the suffering experienced by many people and I have definitely seen an increase in psychosomatic pain syndromes due to these factors.
Well, I, like you, am not immune to psychologically-induced pain. I began to experience inner and outer elbow pain last spring, which I attributed to a martial arts injury. The pain did not resolve and I soon considered the possibility that it was psychosomatic and related to internalized stress and anxiety. Once I made this connection and applied the usual principles of knowledge therapy, the elbow pain vanished for good. This was a blessing, since my doctor did not like the look of it upon examining me and began to lay the groundwork for eventual surgery even during the first consultation.
I love when I find proof positive that a great number of seemingly structural (and positively diagnosed anatomical) pain complaints are really simple psychoemotional expressions. Now, if doctors would only think of this first, before they cut into patients.
Read more about tennis back pain and learn more about how the competitive nature of the sport and the personality type of many participants can drive symptoms through the mindbody process.